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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Kouchner: 'His' tax on financial transactions to be used to fight poverty

Would the tax on financial transactions advocated by Foreign Affairs minister Bernard Kouchner and appropriated by the G20 be used to help poor countries develop, to fight climate change or to make the international financial system sounder? The French minister, who is campaigning vigorously for the development option, is now attempting to seize the initiative to prevent his plans going astray. His agenda on Thursday 3 December was to outline his "International Solidarity Contribution" to twenty-five NGOs (Attac, Action contre la faim, Greenpeace, Médecins du monde, Oxfam, Sidaction, etc.) and set out the conditions ensuring optimum use of the money collected. The proposal provides for a 0.005% charge on financial transactions. According to the minister, this "pain free" levy could raise around 35 billion Euros a year. The idea, he explained, "had nothing to do with the Tobin tax" (The latter tax is named after the Nobel Prize for Economics laureate James Tobin, who, in the early 1970s, articulated a proposal to tax foreign exchange markets more heavily as a means of discouraging speculation).

Source: Le Monde